British Columbia ends high heel dress codes in workplaces

First Lady Michelle Obama's gold high heels are seen as she speaks to military families during a White House holiday decoration preview, in Washington, D.C. on December 2, 2015. The Canadian province of British Columbia amended its legislature to prevent business from implementing dress codes that require female employees to wear high heels. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

April 9 (UPI) — The Canadian province of British Columbia has moved to ban workplaces from implementing dress codes that require women to wear high heels.

Provincial government announced Friday it had amended its legislation in order to prevent mandatory high heel policies in the workplace after the leader of British Columbia’s Green Party, Andrew Weaver, pushed for the change on International Women’s Day.

“Forcing female employees to wear high-heeled shoes, especially when their male colleagues are wearing flat shoes, is archaic and this change is clearly overdue,” Weaver said in a statement.

Premier Christy Clark and Labor Minister Shirley Bond said high heel dress codes are “a workplace health and safety issue.”

“There is a risk of physical injury from slipping or falling, as well as possible damage to the feet, legs and back from prolonged wearing of high heels while at work,” the pair said in a press release.

The province’s Workers Compensation Act was amended to “ensure that workplace footwear is of a design, construction and material that allows the worker to safely perform their work and ensures that employers cannot require footwear contrary to this standard.”

The new amendments will require employers to consider safety hazards such as slipping, tripping, musculoskeletal injury, and other factors when determining the dress code for their employees.

“This change will let employers know that the most critical part of an employee’s footwear is that it is safe. I expect employers to recognize this very clear signal that forcing someone to wear high heels at work is unacceptable,” Bond said.


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